MIAMI — On paper, the 40-foot wide pedestrian bridge on Florida International University’s campus was an engineering feat, boasting several superlatives.
Here are some, as outlined by the university:
- It was designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane.
- Its durability was supposed to exceed 100 years.
- It’s the first bridge in the world to be constructed entirely of self-cleaning concrete: It’s made of titanium dioxide which, when exposed to sunlight, captures pollutant particles from the air and cleans its own concrete surfaces.
- It was installed in just a few hours just five days ago, although its construction wasn’t finished.
- The main span was built nearby to avoid traffic interruption and moved using a state-of-the-art, computer-controlled system that carried and set the 950-ton section. It’s called Self-Propelled Modular Transportation and this was the largest pedestrian bridge in US history to be moved using this method.
The $14.2 million bridge connected Florida International University and the city of Sweetwater. It was expected to open to foot traffic next year.
“We are shocked and saddened about the tragic events unfolding at the FIU-Sweetwater pedestrian bridge. At this time we are still involved in rescue efforts and gathering information,” the school said in a statement.
The National Transportation Safety Board sent investigators to the scene.
Authorities say at least eight vehicles were crushed when the bridge collapsed; eight people were taken to the hospital.